Case In Which Trial Errors Resulted In Conviction Reversal for Shooting and Killing a Police Officer

In People v. Blue, No. 84046 (January 27, 2000), the supreme court held that errors committed at the defendant's trial "cast doubt upon the reliability of the judicial process" and "created a pervasive pattern of unfair prejudice." Blue, No. 84046, slip op. at 33. Accordingly, the Blue court reversed the defendant's conviction for shooting and killing a police officer. Errors occurring at trial included the improper introduction and display of the dead officer's bloodied uniform, the inflammatory testimony of the victim's father highlighting the poignancy of the family's loss, the inflammatory testimony from a police commander regarding the oath which the victim took, "testifying" by the prosecutors, and improper argument by the prosecutors that the victim's family needed to "hear" from the jury and that the jury should also send a "message" of its support to the police. Finding that the cumulative effect of these errors denied the defendant a fair trial, the court further emphasized the State's "overbearing conduct in pursuit of defendant's convictions" and its unprofessional and improper behavior at trial. Blue, No. 84046, slip op. at 34-35.